With Rise of Rumour-Triggered Lynchings, Centre Tells WhatsApp to Act

Maharashtra 12 arrested for lynching five people over child lifting rumours on social media

Maharashtra 12 arrested for lynching five people over child lifting rumours on social media

Noting that miscreants were repeatedly circulating provocative messages and triggering a spate of violence, the government said it has "conveyed in no uncertain terms that WhatsApp must take immediate action to end this menace and ensure that their platform is not used for such malafide activities".

An official familiar with the matter said on condition of anonymity the implicit message is that if the messaging service does not act, the government would be forced to act.

Last week, five people were lynched to death by villagers in Maharashtra's Dhule district after videos of child lifters were actively circulated on a WhatsApp group.

In a statement, the ministry of electronics and IT said on Tuesday, instances of lynching of innocent people have been noticed recently because of large number of irresponsible and explosive messages filled with rumours and provocation are being circulated on WhatsApp. Prasad also asked WhatsApp to work in a coordinated manner with the country's IT Department, Home Ministry and the police.

Twenty-seven people have been killed in 13 incidents of vigilante attacks inspired by false WhatsApp messages warning of child kidnappers or organ harvesters since May, according to the Times of India.

With more than 200 million users, India is WhatsApp's biggest market.

It also said that messaging platform "cannot evade accountability and responsibility" when such services are abused by users to spread misinformation.

The most recent incident, which took place on Sunday, saw five agricultural workers killed by a crowd of 40, as 3,000 more people looked on. To that end, it pointed to recently introduced group admin controls, a label for forwarded messages that's now in testing, and funding for research on the spread of misinformation in India.

A WhatsApp spokesperson had then said that the company would boost its efforts to help curb false news.

"But the platform is responsible for enabling anonymous sending forwards", said Nikhil Pahwa, a digital rights activist and founder of a portal that covers technology and social media policy in India.

WhatsApp has begun to take evasive action, announcing that it has commissioned a set of global awards for research studying the spread of misinformation. And it is testing a feature that would label "forwards". "We use Machine Learning to identify accounts sending a high volume of messages (faster than any human could), and we are constantly working to improve our ability to stop unwanted automated messages", it stated. Nikhil Pahwa, a technology expert warned in a blog post on his site, MediaNama, that the India's "massive" fake news problem is "going to get worse".

Recommended News

  • Ronaldo defends Neymar as English also accused of diving

    Ronaldo defends Neymar as English also accused of diving

    The couple first met in a bar while watching the 2002 World Cup and had fallen in love talking about football. With video assistant referees this should not be possible'.
    China issues US travel warning amid trade tensions

    China issues US travel warning amid trade tensions

    But the last two summits in 2016 and 2017 ended without a statement due to disagreements over the South China Sea and trade. Both Chinese and US business sources in China said there appeared to be little hope that the tariffs could be averted.
    Russian Federation  stun Spain on penalties to reach World Cup quarter-finals

    Russian Federation stun Spain on penalties to reach World Cup quarter-finals

    The team did everything possible to try and prove ourselves again. "We could not do more - we gave everything". It was also the ninth time that Spain have failed to beat a host of a World Cup or European Championships.
  • Fresh grounds for coffee: Study shows it may boost longevity

    Fresh grounds for coffee: Study shows it may boost longevity

    The research, which was published in the JAMA medical journal, states that over the 10-year study, 14,225 participants died . For the study, researchers invited nine million British adults to take part - 498,134 women and men aged 40 to 69 agreed.
    Trading draft rights, Kevin Love are options for Cavaliers | Jeff Schudel

    Trading draft rights, Kevin Love are options for Cavaliers | Jeff Schudel

    Best coach: Greg Popovich; Best Two-Way Player In The League: Kawhi Leonard; Best Player In The World: LeBron James. Love has two seasons remaining on his deal with the Cavaliers and is owed just more than $49.7 million.
    Philadelphia 76ers: 3 reactions to LeBron James declining 2018-19 contract option

    Philadelphia 76ers: 3 reactions to LeBron James declining 2018-19 contract option

    James, who is from Akron, Ohio, can get the most lucrative package by staying in Cleveland: a five-year, $209 million contract. Cavs general manager Koby Altman spoke to both Rich Paul and LeBron James over the phone at 12:01 a.m., sources tell ESPN .
  • Kuldeep Picks 5/24 as England End at 159/8

    Kuldeep Picks 5/24 as England End at 159/8

    Kohli & Co. made their journey across the globe in anticipation of cold and damp weather, but they got none of it in Ireland. Talking about the team combinations, Kohli said that the batting order is going to be flexible and not "one-dimensional".
    England sends Colombia home following shoot-out drama

    England sends Colombia home following shoot-out drama

    It's an issue Southgate will have to resolve fast, and he may have to turn to Ruben Loftus-Cheek to help out. Kane now joins Gary Lineker as the only England player to have bagged six goals at a single World Cup .
    Sen. Collins: No Roe v Wade opponent for high court

    Sen. Collins: No Roe v Wade opponent for high court

    But law "is only settled until a majority of the Supreme Court decides it is not", he noted. She went on, saying , "A candidate for this important position who would overturn Roe v.
  • FCC confirms Galaxy Note 9 S Pen will have Bluetooth

    FCC confirms Galaxy Note 9 S Pen will have Bluetooth

    The Samsung Galaxy On6 features a 5.6-inch HD+ Super AMOLED 18.5:9 Infinity 2.5D curved glass display (1480 x 720 pixels) display. The Exynos 7870 SoC that includes 1.6 GHz octa-core processor and Mali T830 graphics is present under the hood of the phone.
    Germany migrants: Interior minister Seehofer will not resign

    Germany migrants: Interior minister Seehofer will not resign

    The most important factor for her survival is probably how long her own CDU lawmakers stand by her, and for now they are. Then reports emerged from the CSU that Mr Seehofer had offered to step down both as party leader and interior minister.

    Federer stuns by appearing in Uniqlo instead of Nike

    The most jarring change is the lack of the iconic "RF" logo, which is owned by Nike, not Federer. Novak Djokovic was with Uniqlo previously, but he switched to Lacoste in 2017.

We are pleased to provide this opportunity to share information, experiences and observations about what's in the news.
Some of the comments may be reprinted elsewhere in the site or in the newspaper.
Thank you for taking the time to offer your thoughts.